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NDC - News-The United States' Perspective: Exploring US NATO strategies and policies from the Pentagon to Capitol Hill

The United States' Perspective: Exploring US NATO strategies and policies from the Pentagon to Capitol Hill

  • 21 Mar. 2024
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  • Last updated: 21 Mar. 2024 08:35

In the heart of Washington, D.C., the Course Members of Senior Course 144 embarked on an enlightening journey to gain a better understanding of the strategic role played by the United States within NATO. This marked a pivotal moment in their educational journey, as they delved into the intricate workings of defence policy and strategy.

Congressman Gerald Connolly addressing SC 144

Gathering at the Pentagon Library and Conference Center (PLCC) on 18 March 2024, participants were warmly welcomed by Director Navy Staff, Mr Andrew Haeuptle. His words underscored the unwavering support the United States extends to NATO, emphasizing the critical importance of fostering strong relationships amidst contemporary challenges.

Rear Admiral Butch Dollaga, Chief of Legislative Affairs at the Navy Office of Legislative Affairs, eloquently outlined the indispensable role of legislative affairs in bolstering the Navy's endeavours. His insights illuminated the symbiotic relationship between legislative processes and military operations, stressing the importance of congressional liaison in supporting defence initiatives.

A panel discussion ensued, featuring distinguished speakers who elaborated on NATO's evolving priorities and the strategic imperatives underpinning US engagement. Mr Mark Jones, Director of the NATO Policy Office at the Office of the Secretary of Defense, emphasized the paramount importance of readiness and deterrence in the contemporary security landscape. Mr David Baker, from the Department of State, elaborated on the US's steadfast commitment to NATO's mission of international security, while Mr Phil DeWolf, Director of International Affairs at the Department of the Navy, discussed maritime cooperation and allied partnerships. Following their presentations, the panelists opened the floor to Course Members, providing an opportunity for an engaging question and answer session that significantly enriched the discussion.

Empowered with newfound insights, the participants embarked on a captivating tour inside the Pentagon, exploring its labyrinthine corridors that housed the vanguards of American defence leadership. A solemn visit to the Pentagon Memorial, including a Wreath Laying Ceremony, served as a poignant tribute to the sacrifices made in defence of liberty and security.

The day concluded with an official reception hosted by Director Navy Staff, Mr Andrew Haeuptle, at the Navy Memorial. In his opening remarks, he expressed profound gratitude to the NDC Dean, Dr Christopher M. Schnaubelt, for the visit of the NATO Defense College. The resonating performance by the Navy Drill Team, underscoring the tireless dedication of service members to safeguarding shared values and interests, closed this very interesting day.

On its second day in Washington, D.C. – 19 March 2024 – the NDC delegation arrived at the Capitol Visitor Center (CVC) and embarked on a fascinating tour of Capitol Hill, “the place where visitors from around the United States and the world come to learn about American democracy”.

Following the tour, participants were welcomed to the Cannon House Office Building (CHOB) by Congressman Gerald Connolly for a briefing entitled "Democracy: A Founding Principle and Enduring Mission for NATO".

Congressman Connolly began by highlighting democratic values and the historical challenges Western countries have faced in defending freedom and democracy against dictatorships until the Second World War. He emphasized NATO's role as a powerful instrument for defending democratic values and addressed pertinent topics such as the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, the recent accession of Finland and Sweden to NATO, and the threat posed by China to Taiwan. Subsequently, Congressman Connolly facilitated a compelling question and answer session, fostering a candid exchange of ideas on these matters.

As the Course Members bid farewell to Washington, D.C., they carried with them a profound appreciation for the strategic vision and unwavering commitment of the United States within NATO. Their journey had not only enriched their understanding but also ignited a renewed sense of purpose in advancing the ideals of peace and security that define the Alliance. The visit also provided cultural and contextual insights into US-NATO relations, enriching participants’ understanding of transatlantic cooperation and offering them a clearer overview of the US perspective on NATO and of its strategic priorities.

NDC Public Affairs Office